Reflection On My Writing Year

2019 ended with a wallop. The bushfires saw to that. Our home is safe but damaged, and many other precious items are lost and our lives are shaken. January seems to have disappeared without even touching the aftermath bubble, let alone penetrating it.

For me, like so many others, this has meant no chance for reflection on the writing year that has been and no systematic goal-setting for 2020. Hopefully, by now, those not directly affected by the fires will have been able to commit to a writing plan for the year and have made progress into it – after all, one-twelfth of the year has already evaporated.

When I look back, I see progress across the months.

What were my hopes for 2019?

  • Tighten my memoir manuscript and take steps towards publication
  • Deepen/broaden research for my next manuscript, define the premise (the underlying story/theme), consider structure and begin writing
  • Edit and organise my poems, and work towards two poetry manuscripts
  • Enter competitions with a view to adding current awards and/or publications to my writing resume
  • Learn more about writing novellas
  • Maintain my website and post a variety of blogs and other writings

What did I achieve?

  • The memoir manuscript is 9,000wds shorter than it was this time last year, even though a scene has been added… so, it is much tighter after this last round of re-writes. The word length is now just over 90,000 – not bad considering it was 156,000wds in its first incarnation! (It was a novel based on fact then, but still too long.)
  • In November and early December, I repeated earlier research to identify the most appropriate publication options and decided on the publisher I would like to read my memoir. My plan was to send it to them on 8th January – after the holiday season. The fires led to a revised date of 31st January, and it is ready to go…
  • I’ve been systematically researching and organising information for the next manuscript. I will need to expand as I proceed, but am well on my way with the research. As so often happens, the premise has crystallised through this process and has been refined. As this will be a mixed-genre manuscript, the structure may also be a little fluid with the early writing, but I have a loose framework to keep me on track. The writing is well under way.
  • Some poems have been refined and put together as a chapbook. This series of poems tells one story and raises sociological questions about young people and the law. This chapbook is ready for a competition that closes shortly.
  • I continue to work to pull together a collection from my other poetry penned over the years and newer poems.
  • I entered a few writing competitions in the second half of the year and came up trumps when I won the inaugural 2019 E M Fletcher Award. My dramatised but factual short story gave me a current success and publication to add to my resume. It also paid financial dividends, which were immediately set aside to help finance my writing endeavours.
  • This winning story forms part of the mixed-genre manuscript mentioned above.
  • The proceeds from this competition, made it possible for me to travel to Sydney in November to attend Nick Earls’ Writing Novellas course at Writing NSW.


Nick Earls signing his Wisdom Tree collection of Novellas for me…






…and for fellow-attendee Andrew (A. B.) Patterson.




  • This workshop delivered everything it promised. I came away with a greater understanding of novellas and a practical feel for the necessary tools to write one, having applied these to the development of a plan and finding the voice for a story I plan to write. Markets and competitions for novellas were also discussed.
  • My website was maintained during 2019 and a variety of blogs and other writings were posted. I would, however, be happier with my efforts if I had posted more often. Improvement is needed here.

Overall, my year’s work fell relatively close to my stated goals. Any small differences between my hopes and my deeds are still in train and can be easily pursued. My next blog will pick up where I left off this time and will form the basis of my 2020 writing goals.

This post also relates to my Blogs ~ Are You On Track? and Lesson Learned. Also Tip #19, Tip #22 and Writing Exercise #26 ~ Take Stock Of Your Writing Goals.


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2 thoughts on “Reflection On My Writing Year”

  1. I’m really sorry to hear you were significantly affected by the bushfires. It’s been a terrible summer for too many of us. I hope 2020 takes a turn for the better from here for you.

    It was very good to meet you at Writing NSW HQ in November, and I hope there is some great novella writing and publishing ahead. It’s also good to hear that your participation was funded by you winning a writing award – congratulations on being the inaugural EM Fletcher winner. What a great idea to spend your winnings on some professional development.

    I hope both your fire recovery and your writing go as well as possible from here.

    1. Hi Nick… I’m so sorry for not having replied to this comment earlier. My attention to my website has been minimal this year and some of the messages have been inadvertently overlooked until now. Apart from the life complications we’re all suffering due to COVID-19, the aftermath of the fires has usurped our year… suffice is to say we are still negotiating a contract with the insurance-appointed builder for the restoration work on our house to fix the fire damage. In the meantime, we’ve been busy with the big clean-up outside, felling of trees and their removal etc… I’ve also been working full-time for several months, on a novel and other writing commitments.

      Anyway, I’m just finding my way back to outstanding matters, starting with my website…

      I thoroughly enjoyed your Novella Writing Course at the end of last year and plan to put it to good use. I have several ideas sketched out to pursue when I finish the novel I’m presently writing. The short story that won last year’s EM Fletcher Award is now part of the mixed genre manuscript I’m working on in the background, as is this year’s entry which earned me a Commended Award. Suffice is to say I’m chuffed!

      I noticed you’ve released a Narrative Toolkit this year. Such a good idea to put it together as videos.

      Hope you are well and staying safe in the face of COVID-19.

      With my Best Wishes


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